Bert Jones warmed the hearts of 41,209 Memorial Stadium fans by completing 17 of 30 passes for 280 yards in Baltimore Colts' 31-26 upset of the New England Patriots today. It was Jones' first home game since recovering from a shoulder injury.
Joe Washington scored three touchdowns for Baltimore, the last one giving the Colts the lead with a little over five minutes to play. Then the Colts, whose defense had played well infive straight losses at the start of the season, put up a gallant goal-line stand to save the victory.
Linebacker Ed Simonini of the Colts blocked a fourth-down pass by Steve Grogan with 40 seconds remaining in the AFC East game that dropped the Patriots into a first-place tie with Milami at 6-3. Baltimore is 3-6.
Late in the game with the Colts trailing, 26-24, all-purpose back Washington got a nice block from tackle Jeff Hart and scooted around the right side to regain the lead for Baltimore. Steve Mike-Mayer added the conversion kick and all the Colts had to do was hold on for 4:51 to win their third in four games.
It wasn't going to be easy.
The Pats could go nowhere on the ensuing series, but Colt running back Don McCauley fumbled two plays later and Ray Costick recovered for New England at the Baltimore 42 with 3:28 to play.
On the final down, Grogan rolled to his left. Linebacker Mike Ozdowski charged and Grogan had little choice but to try to pass. His throw, intended for Calhoun, was low, and Simonini, a step behind Ozdowski, leaped and batted the ball down.
"When he started rolling out, I figured he might run again," said Simonini, the enforcer in the middle. "When he started to throw, I just leaped as high as I could. The ball hit me on the shoulder pad. It didn't even get as high as my hands.
Grogan said he never saw Simonini.
Jones held the ball on two snaps to run out the clock.
Earlier, neither team appeared capable of stopping the other, particularly through the air. Jones, seemingly completing passes to everyone on the field, opened the game with a 19-yard completion to Roger Carr, who was tackled at the Patriot eight.
Washington, who had 53 yards rushing and three catches for 19 yards, then dashed around the left end for his first rushing touchdown in his four-year career, Mike-Mayer's kick made it 7-0 with 1:25 elapsed.
Grogan, with strikes of 31, 56, 27, 28, 41, 22, 27 and 23 yards, passed his team up and down the field in a hurry.His 56-yard bomb to speedster Stanley Morgan cut the deficit to 7-6, with 7:57 left in the period. Colt Greg Field blocked John Smith's extrapoint attempt.
Jones, throwing without any trace of the shoulder injury that hindered his play the last two seasons, uncorked a 54-yard aerial to Glen Doughty on a third and 14 to move the Colts to the Pat 26. Two more Jones completions were followed by a Don Hardeman burst up the middle for four yards, a touchdown and a 14-6 lead.
New England again cut the deficit to a point as Grogan hooked up with Morgan, this time from 27 yards out, with 1:16 left in the long, high scoring first quarter.
Mike-Mayer added a second-period field goal of 37 yards and Jones hit Washington with a seven-yard scoring toss to open the third period to send the Colts ahead 24-13.
Smith hit 42 and 39-yard field goals to pull New England to 24-19 with 1:41 left in the third period.
After Mike-Mayer missed a 45-yard field goal attempt Grogan put together a 72-yard scoring drive to give New England its short-lived lead.